Landing an interview for a great executive job isn’t easy. It is stressful, of course, but walking in with confident knowledge of the information you want to communicate turns that into a positive form of stress. The key is staying in control, painting a picture of success as you position yourself for an offer.
The first step in your successful interview strategy is to prepare ahead of time. This is more than just a cliché; it is imperative unless you plan to strike out before you even walk up to the plate.
- Build your knowledge base through research. Learn as much as you can about the company and your interviewers. Be ready to mention relevant press releases, cite revenue numbers and statistics and speak to executives’ backgrounds. Know not only the company itself, but also its competitors and its key products.
- Anticipate interview questions. You may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, your management style or why an employer should hire you. Regardless of the question, a simple factual response is not enough. Engage your interviewers with stories that make the facts compelling. At the executive level, employers are looking for leaders who can communicate well and inspire others. As you explain functions for which you have been responsible, describe incidents that illustrate how you achieved successful outcomes. Include numbers that underline positive bottom-line results.
- Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your responses with the aid of audio, video or a trusted friend or coach. Get honest feedback about how confident and knowledgeable you appear.
- Think of yourself as a solution – not just a job candidate. You are the unique answer to the company’s biggest business problems. Thinking of yourself this way will give you added confidence – and it will resonate well with interviewers. It also will help you to define your role in your new company, negotiate your compensation package and gain acceptance as a peer once you start.
You have done your homework and are now on-site. Dress rehearsal is over. This is the big time.
- Make a stellar first impression. Start by being punctual. This means arriving 15 minutes before your appointment. This shows respect for everyone’s time. Walk in with a smile and a firm handshake. Know your interviewers’ names and repeat them when introduced and at other opportune times during your meeting. Everyone responds better and listens more intently upon hearing their own name. Use the right body language and practice active listening.
- Ask your own questions. The more you know about your interviewers and the company, the easier it will be to present yourself as the right fit for the role. Another important consideration is that this is your opportunity to interview an employer just as they are interviewing you.
- Finish strong. The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The impression you leave at the end of your interview ranks a close second. As your meeting winds down, ask your interviewers if they got all the information they wanted. Take the initiative and mention any details you feel are relevant but have not been discussed. Close with a positive statement of interest in the position and ask about the next step in the hiring process.
An executive recruiter who specializes in your field can help you hone your strategy and master all the specifics involved in interviewing – as well as negotiating offers and making the best transition into your new role. If you are looking to take the next step in your executive career, consider partnering with BrainWorks. We can be the connection that makes success happen for you. Why not get started today? Read our related posts or contact BrainWorks to learn more!